Patient-physician communication

Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2004 Mar;16(2):91-5. doi: 10.1097/00002281-200403000-00003.


Purpose of review: Patient-physician communication is a vital element of the process of care. In numerous studies, communication behaviors during the medical interaction have been significantly associated with a variety of patient satisfaction and health outcomes. The purpose of this review is to synthesize recent findings in the area of patient-physician communication, particularly as they relate to patients with rheumatic disease.

Recent findings: Although there is scant research on the medical interaction with patients with rheumatic disease specifically, there is a large body of literature examining patient-doctor communication in other chronic diseases. Because many of the findings of studies conducted in patients with other diseases can be extended to patients with rheumatic disease, this review also covers the most salient literature published in the past year on patient-doctor communication in chronic diseases in general, in addition to covering publications in the field of rheumatology.

Summary: The literature reviewed shows that patients' expectations of medical encounters are not always fulfilled and that patients desire increased participation and information sharing. Establishing patient-centered care is a challenging goal, but fortunately, recent studies show that physicians can be trained, irrespective of the years in practice, to provide patient-centered care and increase patient participation and satisfaction with care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Humans
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Rheumatic Diseases
  • Treatment Outcome